Police raid Al Jazeera Malaysia office over migrant report

In this file photo taken on Friday, July 10, 2020, Australian Al Jazeera journalist, reporter/senior producer Drew Ambrose, right, leaves the Bukit Aman police headquarters after being questioned by the Malaysian police over a documentary about the country's arrests of undocumented migrants, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP)
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Updated 05 August 2020

Police raid Al Jazeera Malaysia office over migrant report

  • Trendle described the raid on the Malaysia bureau and the seizing of computers as a “troubling escalation” in the authorities’ crackdown on media freedom

KUALA LUMPUR: Police raided the Al Jazeera Malaysia bureau on Tuesday and seized computers as part of a probe into the network’s documentary “Locked up in Malaysia’s Lockdown,” which highlighted the country’s treatment of undocumented migrant workers during the curfew.
Three broadcast centers in the capital belonging to Al Jazeera, Astro and Unifi TV were searched, Federal Police Criminal Investigation Department Director CP Huzir Mohammed said.
Astro is a private broadcasting network, while UnifiTV is a television streaming service owned by Malaysia’s telecommunications provider Telekom.
The raids were carried out in cooperation with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, Huzir said.
Computers seized in the raid will be sent to the commission for analysis, he said.
Police recorded witness statements that will be sent to the Attorney General’s office as part of the investigation, he added.
Al Jazeera immediately condemned the raid, saying it followed global condemnation of Malaysia’s treatment of undocumented migrant workers during the lockdown. The media outlet said it viewed the investigation as an attack not only on itself but on press freedom as a whole.
“Al Jazeera calls on the Malaysian authorities to cease this criminal investigation into our journalists,” said Giles Trendle, managing director of Al Jazeera English.
Trendle described the raid on the Malaysia bureau and the seizing of computers as a “troubling escalation” in the authorities’ crackdown on media freedom.
“This shows the lengths they are prepared to go to to try to intimidate journalists,” he added.
On July 3, Al Jazeera’s “101 East” current affairs program aired the documentary on the plight of Malaysia’s undocumented migrant workers under a movement control order imposed by the government.
Three weeks later, Mohamad Rayhan Kabir, a Bangladeshi national interviewed for the program, was arrested. Authorities said he would be “deported and blacklisted from entering Malaysia forever.”
Amnesty Malaysia also condemned the police raids, calling for migrant rights and freedom of expression to be protected.
“The government’s crackdown on migrants and refugees, as well as those who speak up in their defense, is meant to silence and intimidate, and should be condemned,” Amnesty said.


AstraZeneca still waiting for FDA decision to resume US trial

Updated 6 min 7 sec ago

AstraZeneca still waiting for FDA decision to resume US trial

  • AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine was initially developed by the University of Oxford

FRANKFURT: AstraZeneca is still waiting for the go-ahead from the US drug regulator to restart the clinical trial of its potential COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said on Thursday.
“We are the sponsor of the US study. We then provided all this information to the FDA (US Federal Drug Administration) and we are waiting to hear their decision,” Soriot told a virtual World Economic Forum discussion.
The US trial of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, initially developed by the University of Oxford, remains on hold while regulators investigate an illness in one of the participants, even after a British study and other programs outside of the United States have resumed.
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Wednesday the continued suspension showed the FDA took vaccine safety seriously.
A document posted online by Oxford university last week stated the illness in a British participant that triggered the pause on Sept. 6 may not have been associated with the vaccine.